Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Dream of a Product!

Rice worked!  He loved it and now having a milk alternative opens up quite a few food options for Mike.  The vanilla flavor was great for cereal (Rice Checks) and he loved that.  Then I made beef stroganoff and used the regular Rice Dream and though it wasn't as rich as the original recipe it was good and Mike loved it.    So for anyone with an allergy to milk you might give Rice Dream a try!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooking and Allergies

My attempt to find recipes that my brother can eat is becoming an increasingly difficult struggle.  The list of allergies makes it hard and then throw in his aversion to chickens and it only gets harder.

Mike is allergic to all dairy.  No milk, no cheese.  Thank goodness he can eat eggs.

He is allergic to grains such as soy, wheat, oats, etc.  Rice hasn't seemed to bother him so far.

He's allergic to tomatoes. 

So finding a recipe that doesn't contain something on the list is really hard.  Casseroles almost always call for milk or cheese.  

I'm going to try Rice Dream (dairy alternative) and see if he has a reaction.  My luck he won't have a reaction but he just won't like the taste.  But, even if he doesn't want to drink it I might be able to use it as a dairy substitute in a recipe or two.

I'm also looking for a non-dairy sour cream alternative.  So far, no luck.  If you know of something that is non soy and non dairy let me know.

I found this recipe that may work.
    Meatball Stew
1/2 - 1 lb ground beef
2 carrots
1 large potato
1 onion
3 (1 ounce) packets McCormick's brown gravy mix)
2 teaspoons Season-All salt, to taste.

Cube the potato, pieces should be smaller than dice size.
Slice the carrots or use a bag of baby carrots instead.
Dice the onion
Place all vegatables in a 2.5 quart oven safe crock (with lid)  Leave 2 inches of space at the top.
Roll beef into balls.  No larger than 3/4 inches in diameter.
Gently put the meatballs on top of the beggies to avoid crushing them
Heat the oven to 400 degrees
Follow instructions on the gravy packets to make 3 cups of grave.
When gravy is done, stir in some Season All to taste and put it slowly into the crock.  Make sure meatballs are covered.
Cover with lid and bake for 1 - 1.5 hours.  Open and gently stir occassionally.
(You may want to put a piece of foil or foiled covered cookie sheet on the rack below, as this tends to drip over once it begins to boil.)

Maybe this will work!!!!!!!!!!!  I welcome any recipes!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We are remotely lazy!

Oh my gosh......we lost the remote last night and then we couldn't figure out how to change the channel without it.  I mean there wasn't a button or dial anywhere obvious on that TV.  This resulted in a full out search party to find the remote.  What have we come to as a society?   We have become button pushing blithering idiots that surf the tv like California tide riders.  It's hopeless!   Oh......we finally found the was in the freezer right where I left it~

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early Birthday Present

Since tomorrow it will be 62 years that I have been inhabiting this earth I decided to purchase an early birthday present.  I bought a car this morning!  It only took 16 years of shopping to find just what I want.  OK...not 16 years but at least two. 

I bought a Nissan Rogue which is the car I have wanted for the past two years. I was just waiting for the perfect deal.

I'm very happy! It actually has a working air conditioner....which in this 106+ temperature, is very nice to have.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Is it this hot in hell?

It was an uneventful but very hot weekend.  This kind of heat makes you want to just sit like a slug.  It was too hot to eat and believe me that's hot!

I talked to my brother this morning and he told me he had a bad night last night.  He said he had nightmares.  I asked what they were about and he said, "I couldn't find the number 9".  

Now, that would give a dream expert something to sink their teeth into.  I have no idea what that means.  Bless his heart!

My daughter called me last night and told me they were planning a night out to celebrate all the July birthdays.  That would include my son-in-law, a friend of theirs and me.  The only problem with the plan is that they are young and I am not.  They are going to the city Friday night to see a band that doesn't start playing until 8pm. Sorry folks, I'm getting my jammies on by 8:00.  But it's the thought that counts.  

Birthday celebrations (at least my own) don't mean what they used to for me.  I'm just happy that I made to another birthday and that's about as much celebrating as I need.  There is nothing I want or need so gifts are not necessary.  I'm happy to get a phone call and a happy birthday wish.  Makes my day complete.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back Seat Driver

First, let me say I believe I have a lot of fine attributes.  I'm caring, loving, sensitive to others and not a bad cook.  Now, that said, I am also a back seat driver.  There, I admit it!!!!!!!  There are actually people who will not allow me to sit in the front seat of their cars.  I'm banished to the back seat like a rowdy five-year old.  

I must clarify however, I do not speak (except when I'm certain that immediate peril is imminent).  But it is my "body language" that seems to keep me in trouble.  I flinch, grip, close my eyes, use my imaginary brake and clinch the door panel.  Poor Ron, thank goodness he is one patient soul!  My only saving grace is that he is horrible with directions and if it were not for "my" subtle... redirection we would have ended up in Anaheim rather than the corner grocery store.

In my defense I believe this affliction began the day of my twins 16th birthday.  Teaching two 16 year old girls how to drive was more traumatic than my divorce.  One had no idea what the brake was used for and the other thought it was the responsibility of every car on the road to get out of "her" way.  All I could think about was that it had only been a few years earlier that I had to tell these people to go pee!  Now THEY had my life in their hands?

Good thing Ron knew all about my affliction BEFORE the wedding!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yesterday's report

Yesterday went well.  Mike was at the clinic when I arrived and he was looking very sharp in his new jeans and the shirt I bought for him.  Quite the dapper 63 year old.  I really liked his doctor.  He spent quite a bit of time with us and was very accommodating of all my questions.  Dr. G. does not feel that Mike has dementia.  He explained that the psychotic break Mike suffered in November was equivalent to a traumatic brain injury TBI.  He may have suffered brain damage but there is a window of recovery that lasts for about a year to 18 months.  I'm familiar with this because of the children with brain injuries we have treated here at the hospital.  Dr. G. indicated Mike will continue to improve for another 6 to 12 months.  He also told me that Mike will never have another psychotic break.  This was startling information and I asked him how he knows that.  He said that with the combination of anti-psychotic meds. Mike is taking and the fact that he is so compliant with taking them, a psychotic break is impossible.

Mike started to cry as soon as he heard this information.  I know that has been his greatest fear since all this began.  Dr. G. told Mike he will have a very merry Christmas this year!

So we left feeling very upbeat and hopeful for Mike's future! Mike came home with me and I laid out a smorgus board of food for him to try.  He put his stamp of approval on egg salad!  Hooray, I have something else I can feed him!  I wasn't sure I'd be able to get that one by him.  It seems he has an aversion to eating something that came out of a chicken's butt! (Not my words....his)  He has a phobia about chickens that has been with him since childhood.  That includes turkeys (which according to Mike is only a chicken on steroids).

So I am feeling more hopeful today than I have felt in 6 months.  Mike may never completely recover but at least I have hope that he can improve and become a little more independent.  I want it for him as much as for me.  I just want him to be peaceful and happy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cuckoo's Nest

I'm going with my brother to his psychiatric appointment this afternoon.  He has a new psychiatrist that I haven't met yet and I have a list of questions for him.  Mike always gets "concerned" when it is time to visit his doctor.  He starts worrying that he will change his medicine or that he won't get his prescriptions.  All unfounded worries but it stresses him out all the same.  His anxiousness began the moment he got up this morning.  He called me at 8am stating his eye hurt.  He can't drive.  

After some discussion and convincing him to use his artificial tears he calmed down (a little).  I told him I didn't have time to go pick him up so he will have to get to his appointment by himself.  I had arranged for a taxi to pick him up but he was immediately worried that he might have to share a ride with a stranger.  I told him he isn't living in New York that is very unlikely.

So....wish me luck!  I hope he gets there.

He also told me yesterday that he really wanted some tuna salad.  So of course I went straight home and made him some.  I called to tell him Ron would bring the salad to him this morning but he responded, "I don't need your salad, Betty (his neighbor) made him some.  He does this to me every time.  He will tell 15 people he wants something and then we all show up at once..............I gotta stop falling for this trick!  :)   Anyone care to have a sandwhich!  I have plenty!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Blue Rose

This lovely story was part of the sermon at church yesterday.  I so enjoyed it I wanted to share it with everyone.  I am fortunate enough to work in a garden full of blue roses.  This story reminded me of that fact and I have a blue rose of my own as well.  Hope this story reminds us all that our words are powerful and how they can impact someone's life in a positive way!

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Medical Alert Bracelets for Easy Christmas Shopping

Well, I'm about to get my Christmas shopping done for most of my family with one easy click of the button.  I'm purchasing flash drive medical alert jewery for everyone!  My daughter is a diabetic so one for her, one brother (schizoprenia), one brother (diabetic), my niece and nephew (bi-polar).  This is really a great tool for anyone.  It comes with software to input all your medical history and can be updated whenever needed.  It puts critical information in the hands of emergency responders when you are unable to assist.  You can also download photo for easy identify confirmation.  It will let me keep up with everyone's medical history since I'm the emergency contact for everyone.   And I'll sleep better at night knowing they are just a little more protected in case of an emergency.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


My wonderful brother Mike just completed his second day as a volunteer at our church's thrift shop.   He is scheduled for a 3 hour shift on Thursdays.  This was a match made in heaven as my brother spent his entire life working alongside our father in his pawn shop.  I'm so grateful to the ladies of the church who decided to take a chance on a 63 year old man with schizophrenia.  Their kindness and patience reflects just what all us humans should strive for in our own lives.  This has meant so much to my have purpose in his life and it gives him an opportunity to contribute to the lives of others.  I am thankful to our church for not just talking the talk but walking the walk.  When they said they would find a volunteer opportunity for my brother they backed up their words with action.  

One of the biggest dangers for the mentally ill is isolation.  This opportunity to make friends and feel needed is the best medicine in the world for my brother!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Magic Kingdom

My daughter Jamie just called to tell me she and her sister are at the place that it took them 34 years to get to........yep.......Disneyland....
I told the story about how they "thought" they had been to Disneyland until they learned how to read.   Well, today they are standing in front of the Magic Kingdom sign getting their pictures taken "finally".
OK, I realize I'm a newlywed and all that but honestly......I have the sweetest, kindest husband I could have ever hoped to have.  He's the most thoughtful man and I have never felt so cared for and loved in my life.  It is all the little things that make a person feel loved.  Enough mushy stuff.......but I just had to say it.

Last night Ron talked to me about the possibility that he may die.  He's never used the "D" word with me before and it wasn't in some dramatic, morbid way.  He was very matter-of-fact and just wanted to go over some things that he thought I should know.  Since we have kept our finances separate he wanted to make sure I know how to access his retirement etc.  He told me he wants to get a Living Will done and put things in writing about his wishes.  I was so glad to hear that and it has been something I've tried to encourage him to do.  I'm glad that he is now ready to do these things but it makes it all very real.  I've sort of kept everything in the back of my mind because he hasn't been ready to talk about it but last night there was a definite shift.  He's ready now.

We are trying to fill each day with as much love and fun as we possibly can.  We celebrate our anniversary the 7th of each month and we are counting months instead of years.  Each day is a gift!  I so love this man!

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Africa hot in Oklahoma

We are in the middle of a heat wave.......Saturday it was 110 and Sunday 108 and more 100+ days for the next 7 days.  It's unbearable.  It has been this way since the last week in June so I can only imagine what it will be like in August.  It's actually too hot to eat.  Nothing sounds good when you are being broiled alive.  I keep imagining cool ocean breezes but unfortunately there are none to be found in Oklahoma.

Too hot for man nor beast!

We are waiting for the sentencing of the pharmacist who killed the 16 year old armed robber.  The pharmacist was found guilty of 1st degree murder and the jury recommended a life sentence however  the judge has the option of reducing any or all of it.  I was frankly surprised by the verdict although the video tape is hard to dispute.  I just thought public opinion would influence the outcome and people are not happy about the verdict.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Water Cooler Verdicts

I've been listening to the water cooler talk the past few days concerning whether our judicial system works or is broken beyond repair as a result of the recent "not guilty" verdict handed down in the Casey Anthony trial.

Now, I am in favor of people having an opinion. But, for the most part, our opinions on this case are uninformed. The best decisions on guilt or innocence come from those persons who sit in the courtroom, hear and weigh all of the evidence, see the demeanor of the witnesses, and apply the facts to the law as instructed to them by the judge. Our opinions are formed from television comentary, pieces of facts we have heard and from personal prejudices we may have based upon the limited information received.

For the past 3 years this case has been tried in the media.  TV lawyers were quick to proclaim the guilt of Casey Anthony and rediculed her defense for his incompetent representation of Anthony, saying that Anthony would go to the death chair because of his ineptitude.  But now these same news pundits are scrambling to praise the defense attorney for his creativity and ingenuity in the defense of the case.  

While many of us are guided by emotions, strong feelings and sympathy should not determine the outcome of a criminal case.  I don't know why a mother would not report her child missing for 31 days. That fact alone makes me sick, but I have to admit that this fact does not prove her guilt or innocence of intentionally killing her child.

The prosecution had a difficult circumstantial case.  There was no admission or murder weapon.  No cause of death was determined and no motive ever surfaced.

A finding of not guilty is not a conclusion that Anthony is innocent.  The jury simply did not find sufficient evidence to convict for the charges brought.

I served as a juror on a case that involved the death of a 7 year old little girl.  As a juror we took the responsibility of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" very seriously.  There were 12 people who knew that the person on trial was "probably" responsible for the death of this child but the state had not proven it beyond a reasonable doubt.  We reluctantly had to come back with a not guilty verdict.  I personally felt sick for the family but I knew that I had followed what the law dictated me to do.

Most of us would rather be tried by a jury of 12 than one judge or heaven forbid, public opinion.

It was very hard not to be caught up in the emotion of this trial.  A beautiful little girl is dead and no one is taking responsibility for her death. 

If you have never served as a juror or been in a courtroom stop by and watch a criminal trial.  I believe you will be enlightened and  though our system is not without its imperfections I am proud to be an American where all of our citizens are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of our peers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Firing blanks

Boy, have I been blank for the past few days.  The 4th of July was great but my 4 day vacation left my brain on hold. I was happy we survived the fourth with all our appendages intact.  We didn't burn anything down with fireworks and most of the mosquito bites have stopped itching.  So all in all it was a successful celebration!

I've been looking for ideas for our next leadership luncheon and must send a great big thank you to Arkansas Patti.  Inspiration is everwhere and today when I read her post and link to a video
about Nick Vujicic, I knew I found our next presentation.  First I watched the video, cried, then knew it should be shared.  So I passed it on to our QA coordinator and my work is done.

It doesn't hurt to be reminded that we all have much to be thankful for and that we are all wonderful in our own way!  Uniquely wonderful!

On my own home front my brother is doing well.  He has days when he is more confused than others but we are adjusting to the roller-coaster ride we are on.  If his routine gets disrupted even slightly we can expect a rough ride that day.   It doesn't take much to upset his apple cart either.  Yesterday he had to go to the doctor and his medications were refilled and that just put him in a state.  He stressed that all his pills would not be there and that resulted in 30 phone calls to me and the pharmacy.  Poor pharmacy..........they had their work cut out for them.  

But Mike is not my ownly family member battling a mental illness.  I have a niece and nephew who both have bi-polar disorder.  My niece was found last week wandering downtown and did not know who she was.  Her brother had searched for her for 3 days before finding her in the mental hospital.  She is refusing to see anyone so I have not been able to make contact with her.  Although it sounds dance card for crazy is already full and I just don't have the energy to deal with her illness on top of my brother's.  I've kind of taken a step back from it in an attempt to force her own mother and father to get involved.  Although I think they have reached emotional bankruptcy as well.  It's sad!

I'm nervous for Ron.  His next PET scan is next month.  Although he says he never thinks about it I guess I am worrying for us both.  What I fear is that this 4th spot on his lung will have grown and that they will want to do the biopsy.  I'm afraid of the biopsy because of the horror stories I've heard about how once the cancer has been disturbed (by surgery) it often goes rampant and starts spreading vigorously.  The thought of that scares me to death.  Ron's doing so well and feels so good right now that I want to be sure the potential benefit outweighs the risk.  I know I have to just have faith but it is hard at times.

Well, for someone who had nothing to say.........I sure said a mouthful!